loosing pregnancy weight

In western culture, there is pressure and also a desire to lose pregnancy weight as fast as possible. It often seems that a woman is somehow more noble and has it all together if she can manage to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight in a month or so! Some women do and that’s good, but there are so many factors to consider such as nursing, hormones, metabolism, diet, exercise…etc. Whether delivery was a c-section or vaginal is also considered to be an important variable. I’m not suggesting that one should not try to lose the pregnancy weight-I just think we should be very patient and kind to ourselves, our bodies and our self-esteem-they have just been through A LOT! The fat gives us energy we need to breastfeed and care for our babies. We burn 500 calories a day in order to produce milk.

We see magazines with movie stars who’ve lost their weight in a miraculously short time period and hold that up as our standard. Let’s remember that most of them have personal trainers, nannies and a personal chef to cook their diet. Also, they are in an intensely competitive field and there livelihood depends a great deal on their image. So in a way they DO have that pressure to live up to.

Our bodies are our babies environment too even after birth. Imagine your baby holding on to you-which they love to do as often as possible! Doesn’t it seem to be the way nature intended that we should be soft and fleshy so our babies feel comfortable adjusting into this new environment/world? Try pinching your belly and lovingly consider it your “scoochieness” for them for a while!” My brother said something very kind to me at this stage when I was fretting about losing the weight. He said, “You have the rest of your life to lose the weight just enjoy this time with your baby.” His point really struck a true note for me. It is such a special, brief moment in our lives when they are so small and so dependent on us, so why waste a second condemning ourselves for not being thin!

I did walk regularly and used a Pilates videos almost every day when I felt up to it.  Sarah Picot’s video, Postnatal Pilates is excellent and only around 25 minutes long.  She promotes interaction with your baby as you are exercising.   I think I developed stronger “core” muscles than before I was pregnant. My arms and legs have gotten stronger from carrying my baby often. Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t trust the scale. Going by the way your clothes are fitting is a more accurate measure. Of course if you have a medical condition follow your doctor’s advice on weight management. Cardiovascular exercise is a key component to weight loss-try investing in a treadmill, elliptical machine or  a stationary bicycle for your home. Use them as a temporary alternative to the gym since it can be challenging to find the time to get back there!  You can also put on some favorite music and gently dance with your baby.

Remember, most people are focused on your baby now and if you are into baby wearing like I am, those carriers do wonders for hiding that post pregnancy ponch!  Furthermore, wearing your baby has many other physical and psychological benefits.  To read about all the “Attachment Parenting” Rewards (see Dr. Sears website). There are many different carriers available.  My husband and I use the Ergobaby and absolutely love it.

My point is to encourage women to not be so hard on themselves especially at a time when they deserve all the patience and compassion they are giving to their baby or babies. It is a healthy pattern to begin now to model for them a good sense of self-esteem. How we treat ourselves shows them how to treat themselves in the future. Try giving yourself the same compassion and you will probably not even notice the weight coming off. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Weight Watchers is an amazing organization to help with sensible weight loss after pregnancy and can help set up great habits for your whole life as well as that of your children.

I am still about five pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and I am gently conscious of it falling off.  Being a nursing mother of an eight month old and an active member of La Leche League, I know I need the extra cushion for energy to generate milk production. There is a saying that “it takes nine months to put on—it can take nine months to take off.” So I feel I’m on track. That saying really helped me be patient and realistic.

So, remember what a truly beautiful time this is and keep your focus on health and balance for you and your whole family. I heard the Dalai Llama speak once and he said “the better you take care of yourself, the better you will take care of others.” What a perfect quote for motherhood.

jurlique-logoThis posh Madison Avenue location mixes uptown elegance with earthy products.  Many of their products are made with organic herbs and flowers that are harvested from Jurlique’s own farms in Australia.

Service:  Aromatherapy Facial

Cost:  $100.00 for a facial-reasonable especially for this part of town.

Ambiance:  Very Inviting and a lovely, calm oasis from the busy neighborhood it is located in.  They strive for a natural, yet upscale ambiance here and it is successfully achieved.  The spa is small as it is attached to the store which seems to take up most of the space.

Customer service at the front desk:  Very welcoming.

Hygiene:  Excellent.

Quality of service:  Very Professional and relaxing.

Products:  Jurlique is an international company largely known for its all-natural line.  As mentioned, they harvest a lot of their ingredients from their own farms.  If you are into “all-natural” this may be the line for you.  Some of their products are quite aromatically strong so be cautious if you have any allergic sensitivities.  They are on the costly side but they tend to last a long time and are very pure which tends to raise the price.  Quality costs.

Overall impression:  Jurlique is a class act in the spa world in my opinion.  No pretension, simply good quality products and great service technicians.  As mentioned, you pay for it but it is still not as costly as other high end spas in the neighborhood which are much less holistic.  This is strictly a facial spa as the emphasis is on their quality products.  They do not offer any other spa services such as massage therapy, body treatments etc.

www.jurlique.com

skepticismMany people claim to be skeptical when it comes to hearing information on anything metaphysical (of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses) .  Even something as ancient and well documented to being effective as Acupuncture can be scrutinized though it has been proven to be and is in fact a recognized form of healing.  To be a skeptical person often implies a kind of superiority or that the skeptic is right and the other party needs to prove their perspective to them.  Another way of approaching our questioning is by having healthy skepticism.

There needs to be a clear understanding of what a true skeptic is.  Skeptical is to suspend one’s judgment and to have a kind of intellectual cautionary sense while hearing information.  It does not mean doubtful or cynical.  It is not closed minded.  The opposite!  A true skeptic is so open to understanding that they are willing to suspend judgment until all information and experience is heard or perceived.  We can all  miss a lot of valuable lessons and information in life if we try to be too smart or too cynical.  We close ourselves off to serendipitous experiences that can really help our lives grow and support our well-being.  When we are children each day and experience is new and magnificent in its newness.  As we get older we of course adapt a more mature perspective but wouldn’t it be wonderful to consciously choose moments to be less cynical and instead practice healthy skepticism?

We may believe by being cynical we are being wise but actually there is a danger of operating out of fear and keeping the status quo.   When operating  from a place of gratitude there can be a resonance with the world around us and the wisdom that is there.  If we cannot notice the small answers we can not be ready for the big ones when we need them.

Often people will base their judgment regarding holistic health on “insufficient evidence” in the Scientific Model.  This is rampant in relating to ancient healing herbs from  around the world.  Saying something has “insufficient evidence” does not mean it is not helpful.  It can simply mean that there was not enough funding to prove the effectiveness of it.

Be aware that as one listens from a skeptical viewpoint one may simply be listening in a judgmental or doubtful viewpoint which is ok-but be aware of it.  Healthy skepticism is important -it helps us be discerning with information.  We need our opinion to survive and carve our own bit of happiness in this world but trying to learn something beyond your perceived reality can really open your experience and often you may find a whole new set of tools with which to draw from.  A classic movie on this topic is “What the Bleep Do We Know?”  Skillfully acted by Marlee Matlin it illustrates how our thoughts influence our behavior and finally our experience and even self-esteem.  Remember, the lens of negativity and superiority one may view the world from often can be turned back onto oneself and leads to perfectionism.  The bane of self esteem.

Being skeptical is protection against gullibility but there must be a balance if one is to believe in hope and new horizons of thought.  Looking a scant and saying I’m skeptical (but actually judgmental and doubtful)  makes one actually closed in one’s  listening.  A true skeptic suspends judgment before  she/he hears the whole story. So, simply by the admittance of being skeptical you are in fact saying that one is in fact open to hearing what is being brought to the table.  One is practicing, healthy skepticism.

fengshuiFeng Shui is a practice  in aesthetics as well as optimal use of one’s surroundings.  Like Chinese medicine,  Feng Shui  is based on the principles of the flow of Chi energy; the life energy that is thought to be in all things in Chinese Philosophy, along with the Five Elemental Theory (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood.  Like Chinese medicine and Martial Arts there are thousands of forms and schools of thought on this practice.  Some of these forms are very complex and use tools such as a compass or a calculator.  A professional is needed to perform these styles as they take a great deal of calculation and time.  The simplest important factor that connects most of the styles of Feng Shui is the basic principle of decluttering one’s space.  Clutter is where Chi flow gets stuck.

Feng Shui translates to wind and water-this basic premise alone is enough to understand the philosophy behind this ancient art form. It is the effect of the wind upon the water that is the image with which one is striving for.  When the wind flows across the water the water moves and curves to respond and to absorb its movement in an appropriate way just as our space which is a reflection of our lives hopefully can respond to and flow with life’s challenges and even celebrations.   The nature of wind and water is flowing or malleable.  They can both be very gentle or very powerful depending on how much force is behind them.  Feng Shui does not translate to stone and earth which are more stationary energies.  Flexibility and flowing clarity are sentiments in Chinese philosophy to practice through meditation and Feng Shui.

An example of how clutter can effect you is something most people have a challenge with-desk papers.  Every time you pass by those papers cluttering your desk,  it drains your energy because you feel negativity towards yourself (lazy, messy, not  perfect etc.) A good trick is to have a drawer that you can put all your current papers which you need to sort because they just keep coming and this way your eyes don’t have to be their victim each time you walk by.  Try to clear the drawer on a regular basis so you can use it for incoming mail and bills that need to be mailed or filed.

Another area where many of us get “stuck” is the closet-clothes!  A great tip a professional organizer friend of mine (www.simplifyou.com) gives for going through clothes in your closet are, when going through clothes ask yourself:  Does it fit?  Does it flatter? Is it in style or classic?  Does it project the image I want to project now?  If any answer is “no” release it!

It is also important to have balance in your life and to not spend time obsessing on your stuff.  Prioritize and streamline your eye level as much as possible by putting books and notebooks in the same direction as one another this is more pleasing to the eyes and gives your eyes and thoughts a rest.  You can get to the nitty-gritty work over time.  Nick knacks are best enjoyed when there is a rotation of them instead of all being displayed at once-put half away in a cupboard and when you take them out again they will seem like new.

The practice of Feng Shui is a daily, weekly, and lifelong practice and like exercise when done consistently and at reasonable levels, the best outcome is achieved.  Decluttering can be a frustrating and prolonged task but hang in there because it is worth it.  Also, I find going through old stuff and releasing what needs to be released can bring up old emotions and attachments -you may feel depressed or even anxious at times.  Honor these feelings and allow space for them.  It is natural after all that is why we hang on to things for so long.  Patience and prioritizing are key. Create specific, reasonable goals by chunking down the large goal of having a calm, well functioning space.  Remember that decluttering will help the flow and balance of Chi energy and help one’s presence of mind by keeping you in the present moment and in a better mood.